Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Choral Singing, Malpractice, Italy: More Links for Your Classroom

  • Most economists are familiar with the distinction between coordination via spontaneous order and coordination via hierarchy. (See, e.g., discussion in Ch. 1 of my textbook.) In the real world, coordination often involves a mix of the two. This post from Lynne Kiesling of The Knowledege Problem  illustrates the coordination issue with the example of choral singing. If you scroll down the comments, you will see one I have added.
  • The euro crisis is not about tiny Greece, Ireland, or Portugal; it is about Italy. Italy is not only too big to fail, it is too big to rescue. In this post from Economonitor Ed Hugh digs deep into the Italian problem and explains why the euro's ultimate fate will depend on whether Italy can pull itself out of the very deep hole it is in. Hint: Government finance is only part of the story.
  • Everyone agrees it would be good to slow the runaway growth of medical costs, but where to attack the problem? Conservatives often single out the need to reign in excessive medical malpractice suits. Others dismiss malpractice as a minor problem, citing data that malpractice legal costs and awards amount to only 2.4 percent of medical spending. This interesting post from the NY Times by Pauline W. Chen, M.C., a practicing physician, explains that the damage done to the medical system by excessive malpractice suits may be far greater than the measured 2.4 percent if one takes into account the way doctors respond to the fear of malpractice claims.

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